Business is now more than ever dependent on an ability to expand into new markets, both domestic and international, with new products and services. And today's professional practitioner operates within a complex environment of marketing techniques and methodologies, which are constantly evolving. This award will recognise those who have successfully launched a new product or service, and/or entered a new market, whether geographical or sectoral. Entrants must demonstrate how their understanding and application of the skills of research, analysis, planning, and especially execution, has led to measurable success.
Differentiation is key in marketing, and using the Irish language can be a powerful way of standing out from the crowd. This has been a growing trend amongst Irish businesses, as they seek to emphasise their origin and brand values. The judges are looking for examples for firms which have harnessed the marketing potential of the Irish language and bilingualism, and used this to support branding and positioning in the marketplace. Entrants may be using Irish to attract new customers, increase customer loyalty, harness goodwill at relatively low cost, gain a marketing edge over competitors, or enhance their public relations efforts.
The professional disciplines of Customer Relationship Management are not just technological, but rather they are primarily about strategies to create and maintain lasting relationships with customers. Such a focus on customer retention and development can require changes in the organisation's overall marketing processes, including sales and customer service. The judges are seeking examples of the successful deployment of CRM and Customer Care strategies. Key indicators will be the effective alignment of corporate goals, business objectives and marketing strategies, together with a refocusing of the organisation to achieve results.
A brand is much more than a logo, and a brand campaign is much more than advertising. At every point that a customer interacts with a company, a brand communication occurs. Real branding comprises mission, message, differentiation and most importantly, the living experience of the brand. This award will be made to a business that can demonstrate how it has created and sustained a brand, creating a strong bond between company and customer. Entrants will be able to show how they are creating clear messaging, driving these home coherently across all customer contact points, and then consistently delivering on the promise of the brand.
Direct Marketing is a discipline that involves the tracking and analysis of individual customers' responses and transactions. Information collated then forms the basis for further contact, with the aim of building a profitable relationship with a customer based on known preferences. Entries are sought from those who can demonstrate how they have used direct marketing techniques to build profitable revenues. The media used may range from direct mail to telesales to e-mail to SMS messaging, and of course any combination of these. The judges will seek examples of excellent target market profiling and relevant messaging, resulting in profitable outcomes.
Truly effective research helps business leaders and brand managers to reach and validate customer and market insights, which can then lead to market growth opportunities and successful product launches. Entrants for this Award will show how they used market research to achieve a customer insight that led to profitable revenues for the business. The judges will look for proactive origination of the research project, tapping into views of customer-facing staff, and direct observation and interpretation. The judges are happy to receive entries for research undertaken in-house or through external research companies.
Sponsorship has been fast developing as a marketing tool in recent years. In simple terms, sponsorship is the acquisition of the rights of association. Of course, itís how these rights are leveraged that creates the marketing success. The companies and brands that are most successful in this sphere gain a lustre or an emotional association which is valuable and powerful. Effective partnership is vital in achieving the objectives of both parties. In this award, the judges will look for entries which demonstrate both strategic insight and execution skill in developing an effective sponsorship partnership which has produced the required broad return on investment.
Public Relations is a powerful communications management discipline which aims to connect a business and its key publics. PR can support sales in both the short and long term by building awareness and branding. It is seen as providing greater credibility than paid advertising, due to media objectivity, and is therefore a valuable marketing technique. Entrants for this award should be able to demonstrate how they have deployed PR in ways that support marketing strategies. The judges will look for clarity of goals, tight definition of target audiences, coherent themes, creativity in execution, and meaningful measurement.
The task of building export performance is fundamental to the future economic success of our island nation, and this is a key priority for industry and government bodies. This award is aimed at those firms who have achieved exceptional success in exporting a product or service off our island. The judges will look for evidence of clear market objectives, rigorous research and planning, and implementation of localised strategies in the target markets, resulting in increased revenue flows for the organisation. This may have included introducing a new product or service line, implementing new distribution strategies, or opening new key accounts.
Innovation in response to changing market and customer needs is key to staying ahead, and a critical marketing responsibility. In this award, the judges want to hear about how an idea was conceived, developed and commercialised, and how the culture of innovation was created and sustained. Entries could include the development of an innovative new marketing strategy or activity, launch of a groundbreaking new proposition, or an application of an innovative new technology that has improved sales performance or enhanced the customer experience.
Integrated marketing is the discipline that harnesses all aspects of marketing communication, such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing and digital marketing, to act as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation. The increased scope and complexity of available options makes the mastery of this discipline all the more vital today. The judges will look for examples of comprehensive and holistic approaches to marketing, whereby all marketing tools and channels are leveraged in unison to deliver not just consistent messaging across channels, but to achieve increased revenue and profit performance.
Businesses are now expected to demonstrate a sense of corporate citizenship. This award aims to highlight those who are being proactive and dynamic in this key positioning activity. Performance in this area requires effective and balanced management of social, environmental and economic risks and benefits. Entrants for this award should be able to outline the key issues to be balanced, and identify the short and long term benefits derived. The judges will want to hear about origination of strategies, the alteration of processes, and communications with suppliers, employees, customers, regulators and the public.
The SME sector is a large and vital element in the economy of our island. Companies in this sector must be particularly clever in marketing themselves and their offerings in order to be successful against larger competitors. The judges want to hear from small businesses that have deployed marketing strategies and expertise to overcome specific competitive challenges, which resulted in profitable growth. Of particular interest will be the clever leveraging of limited resources and budgets. Entrants must be employing fewer than 50 people, and have an annual turnover or balance sheet under Ä10 million.
The development of digital technology has transformed business in many ways, bringing major new opportunities and challenges to Irish firms, lowering barriers to entry, enabling access to and between new masses of customers, and driving profitability. No longer is the web a peripheral marketing tool, but it has moved to centre stage and is part of mainstream marketing, with multiple new angles for business building. The judges want to hear from firms who have fully integrated digital into their marketing strategies, deploying marketing techniques that harness its potential. Entrants will show how they have transferred their brand into the online environment, created real engagement and converted it to revenue and profit, using solid principles of marketing.
One of the most visible outputs of marketing is the ad campaign, a series of messages sharing a single theme, appearing across different media. This award aims to recognise a firm which has deployed an advertising campaign to support marketing strategies and build the brand, conveying key messages and perspectives about a product or a business. The judges will be most interested in how the advertising campaign was created and executed to achieve specific marketing objectives, and they will be interested in the clarity of the desired positioning, the creative approach, the media platform, and the tangible results achieved.
Teams which bring together a range of complementary skills and leverage these successfully can often point to extraordinary results. This award will go to a Marketing team which can demonstrate how it created an inordinately high level of business performance, focusing on strategic perspective and tactical implementation skills. The judges will look for evidence of the impact that teamwork had on performance, focusing on team organisation, clear definition of roles, allocation of tasks, generation and sharing of ideas, motivation, a culture of support, open communications, problem solving and measurement methods.
The All Ireland Marketing Champion Award has been created by the Marketing Institute of Ireland to provide our profession with a means of recognising the achievements of an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to business performance over time, and who has also had a positive impact on the broad marketing profession in Ireland. Candidates considered may be from anywhere in Ireland, or in any business sector, and will have displayed leadership, vision and skill. This award cannot be entered directly, as the adjudicators will select and deliberate on a shortlist of qualified candidates, and will reach a decision based on known achievements.